Caulking is an important part of keeping your home free of pests, moisture and drafts that can all cause a host of problems. Whether it is moisture damaging your wall structure or drafts that make your energy bill surge in the winter and summer, your home is vulnerable without properly applied caulk.
However, in addition to this function, caulk also works to seal larger than average gaps and repair minor damage to your home’s exterior. Before you tackle this type of project, you must be sure to be prepared. Consider the following tips as you prepare to caulk large exterior gaps so that you can get the job done right the first time.
Caulk Basics Before You Begin
Before you attempt to fill a large gap, be sure that you are working with the right materials and that you have everything that you will need on hand. Most caulk comes in 290ml or 310ml tubes; if you are using a caulking gun, double check which sizes it accepts. The caulk you choose also matters, and the right choice will depend on your exact project. Remember to consider whether your caulk needs to be waterproof (like silicone caulk) or whether something like flexible gap filler (which expands) is necessary for especially large holes and cracks.
#1: Cut The Nozzle Properly
The first step to properly caulking large exterior holes is to begin with the right caulk nozzle. Inexperienced DIYers often tend to cut the tip off of their caulk tube in a straight line; however, an angled cut is much more effective. Consider how much smoother an application you can expect if you cut the caulk tube’s nozzle diagonally, in the same direction as the tube will be leaning when you apply the product. This results in a smooth, even application that will properly fill the gap.
#2: Clean The Gap Before Beginning
Another important thing to remember before you fill large exterior gaps with caulk is to clean the gap as much as possible. If you use water to rinse, be sure to let everything dry before application. If dust and other debris is left within the gap before the caulk is applied, it can interfere with the caulk’s bonding onto the material, resulting in a loose fit and an incomplete seal. Not only does this not solve any of the existing problems, such as drafts and entry points for pests, but it can even contribute to an increased ability to trap moisture.
#3: Build Up Well-Done Layers
Large gaps in your exterior may seem intimidating to fill, but remember that slow and steady wins the race. In order to fill a large gap, it is best to work in single, well-done layers one at a time. Instead of filling a gap from bottom to top all at once and in a vertical orientation, lay down one excellent line of caulk, then another above it and so on until the gap is one layer shallower. Repeat this process until the entire gap is filled.
#4: Smooth And Dry In Stages
As you layer your caulk into a gap as described above, be sure to allow it to dry between layers. Caulk will shrink when it dries, so allowing it to fully do so before adding the next layer will make your fill-in job that much more thorough and effective, since you will be able to compensate for and fill in the areas that have been affected by the shrinking. You can use a moist cloth or your finger to smooth the caulk at the end of each application.
#5: Clean Your Nozzle Regularly For The Best Application
Do not forget to keep a wet cloth around to clean your caulk tube nozzle! Leaving dried detritus on the end can interfere with a smooth caulk line and make your project not only less effective but less visually appealing as well. Cleaning the nozzle immediately with a damp cloth is much simpler than removing dried caulk from the tube later. Just be sure that your moist cloth is not dripping wet so that it does not interfere with the caulk application from the nozzle.
Trust The Pros To Fill Tough Gaps Completely And Quickly
If you are faced with a large exterior gap that you would like to fill, you do not necessarily need to tackle this project on your own. Whether you simply need some tips or guidance or you would like to leave the task to a professional for the best results, trust the experts. Waterproof Caulking & Restoration has years of experience patching large gaps effectively. Reach out to ask any questions or schedule an appointment.